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on 25 August 2017
If you were you growing up in the 80's and listening to music this will take you back and make you very nostalgic. I was 13 when the 80's started and I was transported back! Easy, entertaining read and I loved it!
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on 16 March 2017
A very enjoyable read. Well written and researched with plenty of humour, A great little book for anyone who enjoys looking back to the 80s music scene.
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on 13 August 2012
Nostalgia-driven jog-trots through childhood are ten a penny since Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch first hit paydirt nearly 20 years ago. This book by Tom Bromley is an enjoyable addition to the genre. Bromley is absolutely a child of the '80s, just about becoming aware of music as the decade began and beginning to detach himself gently as the decade ended, and his knowledge of and affection for an often much maligned era in popular culture is infectious.

Bromley's tastes are thoroughly mainstream. He actually liked Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Wham! and everyone else it was deeply uncool to like at the time, only tuning in to the Smiths very late in the day when late adolescence struck. He even remembers the engagingly pointless Tiffany v Debbie Gibson rivalry that any sane man would have blotted out of his mind as the scene spiralled into decline in the later years, despite the brief glory of the Stone Roses. He is also spot on in his analysis of how developments in technology drove and were driven by the music. This is all organised thematically by some key tracks of the time, albeit only loosely.

If I must be critical, I would say that Bromley can't quite decide whether it wants to be an in-depth look at his own past through the medium of the music (including toe-curling dips into teenage diaries and his own lamentable attempt to become a pop star himself) or a critical analysis of the music itself. Thus it does tend to fall in between two stools.

(A minor factual quibble, too. At the start of the second part, Bromley slates Bob Geldof for getting the University of York's Central Hall, the only decent venue in his home town, closed down as a music venue after swearily telling the audience to come down and dance in a venue that was structurally unsound for it. Not quite right: I was at the event in question and whilst there were certainly ructions, gigs went on. Next up was Ian Dury, who was physically incapable of dancing because of his polio and who sagely advised us to 'Wiggle your arse, like I have to'. The Boomtown Rats even played the venue again; this time, His Bobness simply told us 'I can't stand it, stand up'. We did. The Hall is still there.)

Overall, though, there is much to like and I'll even forgive the failure to even mention any of the five best tracks of the '80s ('Party Fears Two' - the Associates, 'Enola Gay' - OMD, 'Running Up That Hill' - Kate Bush, 'Story of the Blues' - Wah!, 'Mad World' - Tears for Fears: no correspondence will be entered into) and even going back to see Drone Drone many years on as a married man with young children. Bruno Brookes, in case you were wondering, once read out a letter from Bromley but failed to send him the promised Radio One pen in the post, so nobody believed it had ever happened. How does the man sleep?

There was dross, there was self-indulgence, there were some self-satisfied wannabes in the parts of the land that floated happily on the mirage of Thatcherism. But it was a great time. If you weren't there, you could find worse places to find out.
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on 31 March 2013
*Written by duchess1's daughter, Rachel Louise Jones, with duchess1's permission.*

I really wanted to enjoy this book, and in all honesty it was a very fun read. Bromley writes in a way that is comical, self-deprecating, and at times quite tongue-in-cheek, and I'm sure that for anyone who was a child and / or teenager in the eighties, this book will bring back many musical memories. However, my enjoyment of the book was ruined considerably by the simple fact that Tom Bromley's own facts are largely wrong.

Many of the factual errors are silly mistakes that surely no-one could ever make - getting the year of Michael Jackson's death wrong, for example, or saying that Wendy Carlos used to be Wayne Carlos, when everyone surely knows that she was Walter Carlos (just where on earth did Bromley get "Wayne" from?!).

And still there's more. Bromley says "A Clockwork Orange" was banned (it wasn't; it was in fact withdrawn by Stanley Kubrick himself), he lists Kraftwerk's "Tour De France" as one of his favourite eighties albums when actually it was never more than a 1983 single (an album of new material, "Tour De France Soundtracks", wasn't created until 2003), and he makes myriad lazy descriptions of famous music videos and live performances that suggest that he has seen said clips, but didn't bother to refresh his memory with a quick visit to Youtube five minutes before writing about them. Add to this mix page after page of typographic errors, and for someone who a) is a sucker for getting the facts perfect and pedantic, and b) wasn't born until 1990 and yet I know that I'm right and he's wrong, does make it at times a very frustrating read. And at the risk of hearing the phrase "sour grapes", it does make one wonder how some people can make it in this world as writers, and others can't.

The title of the book is also quite misleading. For every two or three pages genuinely telling the stories of Bromley's childhood and teenage years, there are about fifteen pages devoted to the history of the decade's music. I don't mind too much, but it does make the title seem forced, and it also suggests that Bromley's eighties upbringing, described all too frequently by the writer himself as painfully middle class, wasn't really eventful enough to be worth writing about.

Because of all of the mistakes, I'd recommend getting the book out of a library before purchasing it; doing so stopped me from wasting my own money. It's a shame, because as I've said, I really wanted to enjoy this book. On reflection, a better documentation of a writer's childhood and teenage years seen through admittedly slightly earlier music would be "The Importance Of Music To Girls" by Lavinia Greenlaw, another misleading title, but at least the book sticks to being the memoir it's described as on the blurb.

As an even bigger TV history buff than I am a music buff, I shall be reading Bromley's similar take on 80s television (again, out of the library just to be safe), with not the highest of expectations, though I know that if he gets even more facts wrong I'll still be thoroughly disappointed. Overall, "Wired For Sound" was a well-meaning effort, but one with so many flaws that it should have had more thorough research and greater care in proofreading before coming to print.
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on 16 September 2013
Obviously this book has a fairly limited target audience, but if you love music, have fond memories of the 1980's and enjoy reading books, you can't go far wrong with this.

I do not know the author, but I think we could be kindred spirits. Not only does he love music,like me he loves musical knowledge, statistics, data; trivia if you will. There's plenty of info about what inspired the names of certain bands, the inspiration behind certain songs, why certain bands split up or ejected members. Also all the main Aids (Band/Live/Ferry) are covered extensively, as you would expect. There's even a bunch of lists at the end of the book detailing who sold the most records and what have you. But its not all work, Bromley (or dare I say 'Tom') has an easy going matey style which was also amusing enough to keep me hooked. To be honest I rattled through this pretty quickly; the present day was soon forgotten and all my 80's memories came flooding back and I didn't want it to end. In fact I could envisage hanging out with my new mate 'Tom', jabbering on about music and 80's TV (he's also written a book about the latter, which I would also heartily recommend) long into the night. We even agree on the best song of the decade; 'Two Tribes' by the briefly legendary Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Which also, in my very umble opinion, has the best video ever made.

Anyway, it may not be the most important or intellectual subject matter, but 'Tom' obviously cares about it, and wants you to care as well. And you will, too. I can think of no higher compliment than to say that, once I'd finished reading it, I closed the book and thought, 'I wish I'd written that'.
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on 8 September 2016
Rather like (most of) the music of the 80s, this book is enjoyable, easy to absorb, has occasional flashes of real class alongside some cringeworthy moments, but is ultimately destined to be forgotten.

Other reviewers have commented on the standard of fact-checking and proofreading, which appears to deteriorate as the book progresses (some alarmingly clunky errors creep in the final two or three chapters). I'd also add that - with the exception of Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna, American artists barely get a look in; surprising as they were a large part of the music scene back then. Australia is at least represented by the (inevitable) Kylie Minogue, but INXS might as well have never existed. To be fair to the author he makes no claims that this is a comprehensive overview.

The second part of the book is shorter than the first, reflecting the author's view that the quality of popular music went downhill during this period (and, as someone born in the same year, I'm inclined to agree). So "Side 2" as it's called leans more heavily on personal history and - as the author admits - his personal history isn't that different to most other people's of the time.

So overall a decent but not outstanding book. Certainly worth the time spent reading it, and the expense if you can get a copy cheaply, but not one I'll be returning to.
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on 29 November 2014
An enjoyable read about personal reflections on 80s music. Like me, most fans of music of this time, will already know the majority of factual content. Hence the main attraction is the personal perspective the authors adds. In many cases this is engaging and informative. However due to this perspective, some very popular bands get essentially no coverage (The Police, The Jam and most of 2-tone). The content on the first half of the decade is much stronger (much like the actual music).
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on 16 August 2012
Tom Bromley's Wired for Sound is simply put an amazing book from start to finish.

I really cannot stress enough on how excellent this book is. I have just turned 40 this year and I have honestly never read a book that was so close to what I personally experienced when I lived in England Plymouth between 1977 and 1981.

It's as if this book was specifically written for me!

BUT anyone who still missed the Golden 80's and is much younger than I am will still find a hugely enjoyable book and will learn a lot about the music and life in the 80's.

Tom is an encyclopedia of information on this era and I was very surprised to read so many things I did not know like how certain bands got together or the very interesting chapter Do they know it's Christmas? This is all done with accurate information whilst being funny and enjoyable at the same time.

I could write a whole chapter on the many, many similar experiences I had during my childhood that have been triggered again with nostalgia from this book. From the Sunday evenings me and my sister spent listening to the Top 40 to my embarrassing dance routines (Do the huckle buck) I did in the school playground to impress the girls! :)

After my family moved back to Malta in 1981, I was still following the music charts but was missing my Sunday evening Top 40 as our local radio only played the Top 20, so missing out on the other 20 songs was quite a big deal for me.
Part of my pocket money would always be spent on Smash Hits as this was the only window i had to follow what was going on in the music scene,and now this book has simply filled in a lot of missing information I missed during my absence from the UK like the Chapter I mentioned above and many other trivia.

If you only read one book this year give Tom Bromley's Wired for Sound a shot you will love every page from start to finish.

ohh..one last thing before I end this review.
Tom if you are reading this I too am convinced like your wife that Sir Cliff Richard is saying 'people' and not speakers in Wired for Sound :)

10/10
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on 16 December 2016
Oh my word! Amazing book. Could have been written for or by my husband as it is just the way he talks about music. He couldn't put it down and when he was out I found myself reading it! Funny and interesting, broken up in to clever chapters. Great read. Buy it!
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on 16 July 2012
Thoroughly enjoyed this trip back to the decade of sleeves-rolled up suits, mullets and shoulder pads. For someone who was a teenager in the 80s it was fascinating reading some of the stories behind the bands and tunes.

Tom Bromley's sharp eye for detail (and an appropriate pun) made this a very enjoyable read that will be of appeal to anyone who remembers the days of Duran Duran, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and George Michael's Lady Di hair. This book will bring it all back better than any nostalgia 'I remember' TV show and is highly recommended.

Though how Bruno Brookes can sleep at night, I don't know...
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